The secret to finding good soul food in Houston is much akin to the secret of a good steaming hot bowl of dragon stew, revealed in the humorous story by Tom McGowen, Dragon Stew. Achieving that home cooked taste that permeates soul food is something that restaurants in the South have been striving to duplicate for years.
If you enjoy soul food living in Houston has it’s culinary benefits. There are lots of establishments that offer some of the top soul food dishes on their menu. A word of caution to diners, Caveat Emptor, (let the buyer beware). Just because it says soul food on the outside doesn't mean they really serve soul food inside.
First of all. I’ve found in my travels that it’s nearly impossible for meals prepared for profit to recreate the rich meaty taste that makes us so enamored with the homemade dirty rice grandma cooked or cousin Vivian's chicken and dumplings.
For me it’s a unique pleasure to have so many good cooks in my immediate family within a few hours drive of the Houston. It makes it possible for me to always find a family gathering to attend where heaping helpings of down home cooking fills multiple rooms and is sometimes stacked on a row of tables so long they have to be set up outside in the backyard.
Several times each year my family prepares food and journey’s to East Texas to gather, connect and fellowship with our relatives that remain in the piney woods. Many of theses meals are centered around church activities and community events. Our branch of the family has a standing request to bring spaghetti.
Everyone always cooks enough food to feed 30 to 40 people. That includes bringing, plates, garlic bread and usually a drink or salad. The memorable part of these family events is how each family unit has developed a reputation for cooking a specific food really well.
It’s part of our custom to go from vehicle to vehicle to catch up on family details and reminisce while building a meal from the food prepared by the elder aunts, uncles and cousins, served buffet style from the trunk of their cars or bed of their trucks.
In the fairy tale to make the perfect bowl of stew didn't necessarily require a well done plump dragon in the recipe. Instead it had to be cooked by a dragon.
There are certain homemade dishes that every restaurateurs would love to duplicate.
If you are want to get a taste that’s close to some of the soul food dishes that are served at home, after a funeral and for the holidays by African Americans look for these specialties on the menu of a restaurant.
Macaroni and cheese
Chicken And Dumplings
Beans w/Ham Hocks
One last thing, If you look behind the counter at restaurant in Houston that says it offers soul food nd notice that their are no black cooks and none of the employees look African American, you probably aren’t eating soul food.
It’s may be some good food, but the secret ingredient to good soul food is that it can only be cooked by a soul brother or soul sister.